The Amiga is a family of personal computers sold by Commodore in the 1980s and 1990s. The first model (A1000) was launched in 1985 as a high-end home computer and became popular for its graphical, audio and multi-tasking abilities. The Amiga provided a significant upgrade from 8-bit computers, such as the Commodore 64,Zx spectrum and the platform quickly grew in popularity among computer enthusiasts. The name "Amiga" was chosen because it is the Spanish word for (female) friend, and alphabetically it appears before Apple in lists of computer makers. It originated as a project called Lorraine, therefore the female was used instead of the male and general version Amigo.
The best selling model, the Amiga 500, was introduced in 1987 and became one of the leading home computers of the late 1980s and early 1990s with approximately six million sold. As the second generation of Amiga systems, the A1200 and the A4000 were released in 1992. However, poor marketing and failure to repeat the technological advances of the first systems meant that the Amiga quickly lost its market share to competing platforms, such as the fourth generation game consoles, Apple Macintosh, and IBM PC compatibles.
Based on the Motorola 68000 family of microprocessors, the machine has a custom chipset with graphics and sound capabilities that were unprecedented for the price, and a pre-emptive multitasking operating system called AmigaOS. The original operating system, partly based on TRIPOS and written in BCPL, is called AmigaDOS and the GUI is called Workbench. When it was eventually renamed AmigaOS, the BCPL parts were rewritten in the C language.
Although early Commodore advertisements attempt to cast the computer as an all-purpose business machine, especially when outfitted with the Amiga Sidecar PC compatibility addon, the Amiga was most commercially successful as a home computer, with a wide range of games and creative software. It was also a less expensive alternative to the Apple Macintosh and IBM PC as a general-purpose business or home computer. Initially, the Amiga was developed alongside various PC Compatible Systems by Commodore but later Commodore left the PC market. The platform became particularly popular for gaming and programming demos. It also found a prominent role in the desktop video, video production, and show control business, leading to affordable video editing systems such as the Video Toaster. The Amiga's native ability to simultaneously play back multiple digital sound samples made it a popular platform for early "tracker" music software. The relatively powerful processor and ability to access several megabytes of memory led to the development of several 3D rendering packages, including LightWave 3D and Aladdin 4D.
1954 - Commodore found by Jack Tramiel
1977 CBM PET
1982 - VIC 20
1983 - C64
Commodore buy the Amiga company 1984
1985 - The Amiga 1000
1987 - Amiga 500 / 2000
1990 - Amiga 3000
1992 - Amiga 1200 / 4000
1994 - Commodore file for bankruptcy
The Amiga was so far ahead of its time that almost nobody — including Commodore's marketing department — could fully articulate what it was all about. Today, it's obvious the Amiga was the first multimedia computer, but in those days it was derided as a game machine because few people grasped the importance of advanced graphics, sound, and video." This marketing confusion would plague the Amiga throughout its lifetime, even as it changed hands between Escom, Gateway and other owners, the Amiga always seemed doomed.